Repeat after me:
I will not negotiate with a toddler.
I will NOT negotiate with a toddler.
I WILL NOT NEGOTIATE WITH A TODDLER.
In one morning, my toddler tried to negotiate breakfast (cheerios instead of a smoothie), what she was watching (DANIEL TIGER!! Instead of whatever everyone else might want to watch), what she wanted to wear (The pink shirt instead of the pink dress), where we were going (that park? Can we go to the FIRETRUCK Paaaaark??), how we getting there (bike or wagon) and of course…lunch (pickles instead of cucumber).
Did she win? HELL NO. I stood my ground. That’s right-I didn’t give in to my three year old (hold your applause) because even though life would be SO MUCH EASIER…I just can’t do it. She doesn’t get to decide everything. I can’t let her win. Even if it kills me.
I’m not evil. I give her choices and we don’t ALWAYS fight, but then she changes her mind two seconds later and tries to negotiate and I just can’t let it happen. I’m tired. And enough is enough.
She probably hates me and thinks I’m the worst Mom ever…for about ten seconds. But then she’s over it. I figure, if your children hate you a little bit, you’re probably doing something right. So I continue to shut down any and all negotiations. It’s stressful! People may say I’m strict, or mean…but I think I’m just parenting…and it can be exhausting, but I know in my heart I’m doing the right thing.
I mean, who’s in charge here? The parent or the child? I see kids taking over their parents’ lives by negotiating at the park or the grocery store. And they’re good…oh, they’re so good. I watch their parents mull it over for a minute and then those big puppy dog eyes win. I don’t judge! I know how hard it can be to say no or stick to your guns when you have the cutest little person sweetly smiling and saying they’ll “be good-I promise!”
But I betcha they’re lying.
BECAUSE THEY’RE A TODDLER.
Bottom line: Negotiating with toddlers (or terrorists) is just a bad idea. It gives them power and they thrive off knowing they can twist your arm, little by little, until you give in. And if it doesn’t work once, they’ll try, try again. And again. They are relentless little people. Give in once and you have to start ALL. OVER. AGAIN.
Be firm. Stay strong parents! Avert your gaze and repeat again:
I will not negotiate with a toddler!
And don’t even get me started on bedtime.
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